College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 6 and 5

6. Fuzzdolly, XOC

Surely there was no better way to guarantee airplay on 90FM in the mid-nineties, when then station was arguably at the peak of its commitment to Wisconsin-based bands, than being a group with specific ties to the city that the Federal Communications Commission required to be named at the top of the hour, immediately following a statement of the station’s call letters. Fuzzdolly was apparently a indie-goth band (a newspaper article at the time described the voice of lead singer Dan Dieterich as “an exact cross between Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy and Crash Test Dummies’ Brad Roberts”) that had its origins in humble Stevens Point, Wisconsin before moving downstate to the state capital. Without much additional information to draw upon, I’ll defer to the review of the album that appeared in the October 10, 1996 edition of The Pointer, the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point:
See! It said right there that it was going to get played a lot at 90FM. Who says you can’t trust record reviews?

5. Soul Coughing, Irresistible Bliss

Irresistible Bliss was the sophomore effort from Soul Coughing, the band that served as the broader introduction of Mike Doughty. Following the “Deep Slacker Jazz” (a joking description that stuck) of their excellent debut, Ruby Vroom, Doughty was actively seeking a tighter, sleeker sound. When the producer of their debut was unavailable, Doughty enlisted David Kahne, who’d recently presided over one of the most unlikely comeback albums of the decade and generally had a knack for slicked-up material. The results were exactly what Doughty was looking for: steeped in the band’s established sound, but bigger and punchier. It’s not really what the label was looking for however, as they joined with several of the band members in protesting this creative shift (bass player Sebastian Steinberg even quit, albeit only briefly). The whole process was a glimpse into the artistic restlessness of Doughty. Soul Coughing would release only one more album together. Thus far, they’ve resisted any urge to reunite, perhaps because it seems there’s a lot of bad blood there, thanks to disagreements about how songwriting credits and publishing rights (and the revenue streams they represent) should be divvied up.

An Introduction
–90 and 89: Antichrist Superstar and Three Snakes and One Charm
–88 and 87: No Code and Unplugged
–86 and 85: Greatest Hits Live and Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts
–84 and 83: To the Faithful Departed and God’s Good Urges
–82 and 81: Billy Breathes and Sweet F.A.
–80 and 79: The Process and Test for Echo
–78 and 77: Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds and Breathe
–76 and 75: Bob Mould and Walking Wounded
–74 and 73: It’s Martini Time and Trainspotting soundtrack
–72 and 71: Aloha Via Satellite and Fever In Fever Out
–70 and 69: Hi My Name is Jonny and One Mississippi
–68 and 67: Everything Sucks and The Aeroplane Flies High
–66 and 65: First Band on the Moon and Razorblade Suitcase
–64 and 63: Comic Book Whore and Peachfuzz
–62 and 61: All Change and Rude Awakening
–60 and 59: 12 Golden Country Greats and Songs in the Key of X
–58 and 57: Brain Candy soundtrack and Pinkerton
–56 and 55: Sublime and Count the Days
–54 and 53: Wild Mood Swings and The Cult of Ray
–52 and 51: Bringing Down the Horse and Crash
–50 and 49: No Talking, Just Head and New Adventures in Hi-Fi
–48 and 47: Lay It Down and Pogue Mahone
–46 and 45: I’m with Stupid and XTORT
–44 and 43: Tango and …finally
–42 and 41: Good Weird Feeling and Mint 400
–40 and 39: Happy Nowhere and Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly)
–38 and 37: Turn the Radio Off and Electriclarryland
–36 and 35: Naughty Little Doggie and In Blue Cave
–34 and 33: Eventually and Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks
–32 and 31: Beautiful Girls soundtrack and Strat’s Got Your Tongue
–30 and 29: Upstroke for the Downfolk and Set the Twilight Reeling
–28 and 27: Born on a Pirate Ship and The Golden Age
–26 and 25: Ænima and Dead Man Walking soundtrack
–24 and 23: Victor and Songs for Pele
–22 and 21: Down on the Upside and Music for Our Mother Ocean
–20 and 19: Supercop soundtrack and Dust
–18 and 17: Remember and A Worm’s Life
–16 and 15: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits
–14 and 13: Down By the Old Mainstream and The Gray Race
–12 and 11: Star Maps and Car Button Cloth
–10 and 9: Black Love and Highball with the Devil
–8 and 7: Recovering the Satellites and Evil Empire

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